Pennsylvania: The Next State to Legalize Marijuana?

Megan O'Leary, Staff Writer

Sen. Daylin Leach is going against the norm and purposing a bill to become the next state to join Colorado and Washington in the movement of Marijuana legalization.

Leach first made an announcement back in January that he was working on this bill.  He believes that marijuana is one of the safer drugs and wants it to be treated like tobacco or alcohol. “Marijuana is not physically addictive,” he stated at his Harrisburg Press Conference on  February 4. “There are other intoxicants that are far worse that we treat the same way. We do not accuse people of criminal offenses for consuming.”

Leach says that if PA could legalize marijuana, at least the possession of up to one ounce, it will save Pennsylvania taxpayers up to $350 million  in the taxes spent on prosecuting and locking up the 25,000 weed users.

“A lot of additional money that we are leaving on the table as a society by forcing weed to be sold in an nontaxable, unregulated black market,” stated Leach. He purposes that if we would tax the sale of marijuana, such as $1 per joint, it would bring an extra $200 million annually to the state economy.

At this point, Colorado and Washington are the only states to  legalize marijuana entirely. Fifteen states have legalized medical Marijuana, which requires people to have a special licence assigned by their doctor to get it. And in 14 states, they have decriminalized small amounts of weed, such as processing  an ounce or smaller receives a smaller fine.

Sen. Leach has several local doctors and state wide supporters behind him, but it is going to be a bit difficult. Gov. Corbett has already stated that he is opposed to the legalization of marijuana.